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Fewer and fewer couples are getting married. Marriage rates have been declining in many countries across the world since the 1970s. So why are people reluctant to tie the knot?
Reasons for not getting married can be diverse. Some people choose to stay single, and this number is growing. Many young adults value their freedom and prefer to spend their energy on other things rather than family life. Others don’t see much difference between a long-term committed relationship and marriage.
Sam and Barbara are a great example. They are in their 30s, they both have well-paid jobs and no plans to get married. At one point, after 3 years of living together, Barbara felt she wanted more than being just a boyfriend and a girlfriend.
Sam, on the opposite, was reluctant to get married. First off, a lot of marriages end in divorce. Second, weddings are expensive, and divorce is even more expensive. Third, aren’t they happy the way they are now? Marriage simply wouldn’t add anything to the table.
Fortunately, they came up with an elegant solution: they got engaged. It was enough for Barbara to feel confident that their relationship is serious. “Honestly, I think getting married legally makes sense only if there are children in the picture, which is not our case,'' she says.
Sam and Barbara have a lot of unmarried friends. “My best friend has been through a divorce, and he doesn’t feel like doing it again”, says Sam. “He is in a relationship now, but I know he is afraid of a big commitment”. Some of Barbara’s friends have gone through a chain of unhealthy relationships and are scared of losing their independence and control over their own life, so they feel happier and safer living by themselves.
So, has marriage become irrelevant in today’s society? Not necessarily. A happy marriage can be extremely fulfilling; the tricky part is, a serious relationship means hard work, and not everyone is willing to sacrifice the benefits of being single. But there are plenty of people who would like to get married if they meet “the right person”.